Plane for free?|Sheriff seeks new aircraft — but no burden on county

Published 3:21 am Wednesday, September 16, 2009

By By Lisa Tindell
news editor

Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith has set his sights on a lofty goal: an airplane for the county.
Smith said there is money available from government agencies to help fund such projects.
Smith said he began thinking about an aircraft for the county when neighboring Escambia County, Fla., chose to ground its helicopter operation. That aircraft had been a backup resource in the search for missing persons or escaped inmates in Alabama.
Smith said he would also check with other agencies as they make new purchases or upgrade. The proposed aircraft would be small, fixed-wing airplane with the ability to fly at low speed for observation purposes.
Smith said he would not ask for funding of the aircraft or its operation from the county including costs of insurance, fuel and maintenance.
Escambia County Commissioners also agreed to be a part of the Tiger Grant Program, which will help to gain funds for bridge work throughout the state.
White said Alabama is the only state to make an application such as the one proposed through the Tiger Grant Program.
In other business, the commission:
Escambia County Sheriff Grover Smith said inmates would be housed at no cost to the city; however, any expenses incurred for medical purposes for those inmates would be the responsibility of the city;

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